“Marshall” stars Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens, Sterling K. Brown, and James Cromwell. Released on October 13, 2017, the film focuses on Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, and his attempt to defend a man who is accused of rape and attempted murder.
The film is directed by Reginald Hudlin, who also directed films such as House Party, Boomerang, The Ladies Man, and Serving Sara. This next film on my list takes us back into the world of history as it chronicles one of Thurgood Marshall’s first cases in his career as well as its timely racial themes. Now this isn’t the first time that Chadwick Boseman gets to portray an African-American icon. In 2013, he portrayed Jackie Robinson in the baseball biopic, 42 (which I loved very much), and the year after that, he played the “Godfather of Soul” himself, James Brown, in Get on Up (which I liked). You’re seeing a pattern to this, right? So now we have Boseman portraying an African-American Court Justice in the one type of genre that I haven’t got into that much besides romance: courtroom dramas. But will this one be able to change my mind? More importantly, will Boseman be able to impress me in a biopic for a third time?
If there’s one thing you should know about courtroom dramas, it’s that they’re filled with conversations. Conversations that are worth paying attention to in order for the audience to figure out the real truth. This film is no different. I guess my only concern going into “Marshall” is how they’re going to make it engaging for their target audience as well as those outside of it. After watching it for myself, I believe they have found a simple answer: by pairing the master of African-American celebrity portrayals with the guy who voiced a talking snowman in a Disney movie. Actually, it’s much more than that. The film offers a few things that'll make it worth your time, even if you’re not a huge fan of courtroom dramas. First off is the cast. Ranging from Boseman as the title character to Sterling K. Brown as Joseph Spell to James Cromwell as the Judge, these actors did a great job at maintaining the realism of an actual court ruling. Once again, Chadwick Boseman proved to me that he can make any nonfictional character he portrays both entertaining and bold. From what I saw, Thurgood Marshall is the type of guy who’s not afraid to take risks when it comes to the film’s subject matter, and Boseman did an excellent job at portraying these motives. Josh Gad delivered what is arguably one of the best performances in his acting career as Sam Friedman, an insurance lawyer who teams up with Marshall to win the case. Whenever Boseman and Gad appear onscreen together, I was immediately attached to them from start to finish due to their irresistible chemistry. Another thing is the film’s pacing. At first, I was a bit worried at how the film paces in terms of the genre, but Reginald Hudlin managed to find a way to keep things moving without losing his sense of understanding towards its racial themes and the event that was showcased. The screenplay by Michael and Jacob Koskoff was quite effective in some moments, but it didn’t quite know how to keep the film’s emotional connection consistent.
Overall, “Marshall” is the type of legal drama that’s well-acted, consistently riveting, and effectively written. It doesn’t quite top 42 as my favorite Boseman film due to its troublesome emotional connection in certain scenes, but for a film that showcases one of Marshall’s early cases, it’s worthy enough to be found “not guilty”. I would gladly recommend this film to those who are into courtroom dramas and those who enjoyed Boseman in 42 and Get on Up.